First, an admission: I stink at math. Marcy has to do the checkbook and does great with our finances (we have no debt or depreciating loans). But that’s because she gets math. Though I’m mathmatically challenged, I at least know that I am because I understand some mathematical absolutes. And I don’t argue with them.
Having said that, I recently got baited into a discussion/argument with a couple of reader-friends over what they perceive as judgmentalism, intolerance, and forcing my views on readers. This discussion came as a result of them reading a recent blog post which got more hits than any post I’ve ever written.
Their biggest question (gripe) was, “Why are Christians so pushy and dogmatic about God’s standards?”
What many people (especially unbelievers) fail to understand is that for devout, serious, Spirit-born followers of Jesus, God’s standards are absolute. When God says that something opposes his values and is bad for people because it will harm them, then that’s it! That’s the last word. God gets that last word with serious followers of Christ because he’s God, we’re not. Our opinion is immaterial. God has spoken . . . period!
So, I was thinking and wondering . . . how can I make this crystal clear in a way that even a person who shuts off the moment you challenge their “opinion” can recognize, that sometimes our opinion–no matter how much we’re entitled to it and in love with it–is simply WRONG?
What’s even more amazing is the line of reasoning that an unbeliever follows when you challenge his/her “opinion” with God’s absolute. If people are shown his Word, they say either that men wrote the Bible (as though that should disqualify it) or they say that they don’t believe in God.
MEN WROTE THE BIBLE?
Of course men wrote the Bible. Biblical scholars and educated beleivers alike would never dispute that. What they would dispute is the implication that because men wrote it, they made it up. This is an absurd line of reasoning for many reasons but scholars more astute than me have established divine biblical inspiration far better than I could. And any intellectually honest person can read their work if they are genuinely interested in how the Bible came from the Holy Spirit through its human agents as God gave them utterance. But back to my point.
Then it came to me. I know . . . Teachers and students alike will get this . . .
You’re a math teacher and are conducting a class on Addition.
You tell the students 2+2=4. But two or three of your students don’t agree. They say that 2+2=7. You tell them gently that they’re mistaken.
They take offense and tell you that your answer is your opinion. But in their opinion, 7 is the answer. Because you’re well versed in math, you explain to them that math has absolutes. And you gently assure them that 2+2 will always equal 4 whether they agree on it or not.
They still insist that though you may know more math than they do, they’re not going to allow you to shove your intolerant opinions about addition down their throats. They now take a different tact. No longer do they remain with the 2+2 point.
“Well, that math book was man-made. It is a book written by men.”
“Yes, that’s true,” you say, “but the principles in it are established absolutes just like the law of gravity.” What they’re describing faithfully are the foundations and principles of Math.
Now they’re really going to push you into the corner. “Well, we don’t believe that Math exists. We’re amatheists! We don’t believe in your Math or its principles or your judgmental, intollerant views. We believe in love. And love would never tell us that 2+2 has to be 4 and can’t be 7.” What do you do now?
DEPARTING FROM REALITY
There’s really no arguing. You have to give them an “F” and let them live their lives believing that 2+2=7. Now a bunch of them gang up on you for being unjust to those who received “F”. They harange you and call you a mathematical bigot. You’re intolerant. You’re a 7-phobic. What makes your opinion superior to theirs?
Of course this analogy falls apart at the end, because what they believe about math, only affects their grade in school, not their immortal souls. But what would happen if their eternal destiny was settled by the stubborn insistence upon their error? What would you do? How would you respond if you knew that they would be eternally lost if they held to their mistaken opinions? Would you write them off and say “Hey, they’ve made their choices. Let em face the consequences.
BRING THEM TO THEIR SENSES
Most likely, if you were a compassionate, loving teacher, you would try to convince (not force) them. You might cite all kinds of people and authorities to try to bring them to their senses to escape the lie they have embraced as their firm opinion. You would provide them with expert testimony and scholarship. The problem is that they wouldn’t care. They have made up their minds based upon their opinions (and of course they got those opinions from others with the same misinformed, unexamined opinions).
THE PROBLEM WITH OPINIONS
G.K. Chesterton once said, “An opinion lacking in knowledge is an ugly thing.” It destroys truth. It undermines reality. An uniformed opinion is the devil’s delight, especially where souls are involved.
In our culture, opinion reigns when it comes to God and spiritual matters. With regard to morality and spiritual reality, unbelievers don’t want the facts to cloud their right to believe any fantasy that appeals to their imaginations. Yet, we would never base our destiny on a stubbornly held opinion when it came to other matters of living.
DON’T TRUST YOUR OPINION, GET THE FACTS!
What if a bridge under construction was blatantly unsafe? Signs warn motorists to proceed no further. But a driver–insistent upon her own opinion–decides to cross. What would people say when her car plunges into the depths of the river below?
How far should we trust our own opinions?
Another scenario: What about the patient, who’s scheduled for a brain operation and decides that in his opinion what his doctor proposes is not in agreement with his opinion as a patient. The surgeon insists that she needs to operate on the patient’s left side to affect his motor functions on the right side of his body; but, he insists that if the problem is on the right side of his body, then it only makes sense that she should operate on the right side of his brain. Seems resonable right? No matter how much the patient insists upon the validity of his reasons and his “opinion,” this man is dead wrong. His opinion means nothing, though he’s entitled to hold it dogmatically. It won’t change the reality for his surgeon (fortunate for him.) She will not be convinced by her patient’s stubborn insistence upon his own limited views of anatomy and physiology. She will perform the operation as she has been trained in her knowledge of the human body. The patient’s only choice is to proceed with the operation or not.
You get what I’m concerned about? When it comes to universal principles, opinions are meaningless and only get in the way of the greater good–God’s Kingdom and His reality which includes our joy, peace, and eternal destiny.
Now you can insist that Math doesn’t exist and close your eyes, stop up your ears, jump up and down and cry, but Math exists. And math will not bend its principles for you, me or anyone else–regardless of our cherished opinions.
DON’T BLAME THE MAILMAN
In my post I shared God’s view. It’s not my view. It’s GOD’s view. The believer or disciple who delivers God’s Word is just the mailman who delivered the letter. Don’t whack him because you don’t like what’s in the letter.
The problem with the unbeliever is solved by God. He has already told us why they don’t and CAN’T get it. He says:
1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
This is where our prayers come in. All that we can do is gently share the truth with them that may be set free and to see that 2+2 really does equal 4. God really does have absolutes that include or exclude us from his marvelous Kingdom:
2 Timothy 2:24–26 (NIV)
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
It’s really a matter of humility. As long as they remain in pride, they are captive to a spiritual entity that will not let them see the truth. Only when they respond to the truth with humility and let go of their opinions will God “grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” that will bring them to “their senses.”
What’s frustrating is when you know their time for “getting it” is short. That makes us more insistent because of our love for them. And that makes them more intolerant with us because they think that we’re forcing our values and reality on them or patronizing them. Lord, remove the veil. Grant the the grace you granted us when we were 7′ers ourselves.
QUESTION: Have you run into this stubborn insistence upon a person’s culturally informed opinion?
I didn’t intend to write this post, until I came across Todd Starnes’s commentary “Philadelphia to Consider Resolution Condemning Chick-fil-A, which I quote below.
No sooner had I made what I believe to be prophetic statements about God’s judgment upon our nation, than the rabid homosexual advocates launched their vicious attack on–of all things–a fast food restaurant chain because of the owners’ personal religious and moral beliefs.
Is he advocating immorality [as his opponents are]? NO!
Had this man poisoned someone’s food? NO!
Had he told homosexuals that they could not eat in his stores? NEVER!! [He actually provides jobs for them.] The Chick-fil-A’s have an antidiscrimination policy.
Not so the cities of Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Chicago. No . . . they blatantly, publicly and unashamedly discriminate and their elected officials use their political positions of leadership to censor and pour out “hate” toward a Christian, family-owned business because its CEO and chain owners believe in the biblical view of marriage.
SO what had #ChickFilA COO, Dan Cathy, done to rile up these city leaders? He simply restated the teaching of the Holy Bible, the Word of God, that God’s intent was that marriage be between one man and one woman for life. WOW!! Cathy went that far? To think that marriage is between a man and a woman? What a hateful, sick individual! Of all things to believe . . . where would he ever have gotten such a twisted idea? Marriage between a man and a woman? Come on, how far can we let such archaic views be tolerated. We should use our political power and vitriol to silence the God who created marriage and all his followers who espouse his views?
As the Scripture says of the origins of homosexuality in Romans 1:18–32 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Though we love these fallen people, why would we support their darkened behavior, the behavior of a debased mind and heart? No, we should speak truthfully to support what is right and true.
Cathy and those like him (including me and millions of Americans who have the courage to stand with our God and His Word) are being mocked, ignored, or silenced. This would not be such a blow to our nation if it did not signal a greater horror. A nation that turns its back on God is a nation doomed to live out its own sickness and force its disease upon all free people everywhere. I don’t want the government or special interest groups bent on wickedness telling me that I can’t sell chicken in their city limits because I don’t hold their twisted, demonic views of men marrying men and women marrying women.
As the Holy Spirit makes clear, homosexuality is the final perversion of a society–a people who have turned from God. Down through history, this decadence preceded the downfall of the nation which accepted it as “normal” behavior. The best known examples include Sodom & Gomorrah and Rome. Homosexuality is a spiritual and moral cancer infecting our nation and the world. God will not let it continue for long. One way or the other, the sick patient will die–either of the disease or of God’s judgment on the disease. And yes, AIDS did begin to show itself in the west in the homosexual community first. Don’t let all the white-washes and purges of history by homosexual groups and their vicious advocates fool you.
Now cities like San Francisco (surprise) and Chicago (who could have guessed, Obama’s home town) have blasted the company and threatened Chick-fil-A’s expansion there. All this because the owner supports a biblical definition of marriage–traditional marriage. From Todd Starnes’ commentary:
The Philadelphia City Council will consider a resolution condemning Chick-fil-A for what one city leader called “anti-American” attitudes that promote “hatred, bigotry and discrimination.”
City Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy telling him to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.”. . . [who's intolerant?]
Kenney said individuals who do not support gay marriage should understand there are consequences to their belief. [and to his wickedness]
“If he [Dan Cathy] really, truly believes what he believes, that is his right to do so,” he told Fox News. “But there is often a price to pay for that.” [now in America, there's a price to pay for believing that marriage is sacred before God, and that HE defines marriage, not people]
Mike Huckabee has launched a nationwide effort to show support for the besieged family-owned company – declaring August 1st as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
So what’s wrong with a guy like Jim Kenney? See what God says is wrong:
Romans 1:28 (ESV)
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
What will it take to demonstrate to this nation’s infected leaders that THEY are the ones leading us to our demise (unless that’s their intent–don’t think that this is out of the realm of possibility). I have lived to see things that I would have never dreamed possible in the United States of American. People who have come form somewhere in outer space as far as their values and rejection of God.
I agree with Michelle Malkin:
“When an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of ‘tolerance,’ it’s not harmless kid stuff,” she wrote. “It’s chilling.” –quoted in Starnes’s commentary.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
I propose that we send a message to Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and any other city or political body that holds to demonic teaching rather than the clear instruction of our God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. I call upon the citizens and churches, ministries,synagogues, and mosques of those cities who hold to a moral universe, cared for by a loving and holy God, to rise up and teach these politicians that they do not speak for the majority of mentally and spiritually healthy citizens.
I certainly don’t want the dictatorial, decadent and perverse thoughts of people like Jim Kenney and his ilk and whole cities who revel in their disgrace and sin to infect more of our nation with this demonic doctrine. The last days of our existence will be characterized by the increase of this kind of persons:
1 Timothy 4:1–2 (ESV)
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared . . .
They have seared their consciences and no longer know the difference between right and wrong. Can they be saved? With great difficulty, but I’m not sure because of this passage:
2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 (ESV)
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
We should pity such persons, but be sure we don’t agree with or support their doomed worldview.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
At the least, we should join with Mike Huckabee and his nationwide audience to show support for Dan Cathy and the “besieged family-owned company” on August 1st as we eat at the nearest #ChickFilA restaurant, even if we have to drive some distance to get there (I’ll be driving nearly an hour to get to the closest one to me). I’ve never eaten there, but I sure intend to now. That’s the ONE thing I suppose I can thank Jim Kenney for.
We can also pray that the Lord will grant us grace to survive the increasing wickedness and darkness as the American empire implodes and disintegrates.
- Chick-fil-A beef puts mayor in pressure cooker (bostonherald.com)
- Personal Opinion: In Danger of Distinction? (marcyda.wordpress.com)
- TODD STARNES: Chicago Chick-fil-A owner under fire for gay marriage stand tells Rahm, ‘eat more chicken’ – Supporters rally as cities ban Chick-fil-A- Hollywood unleashes vulgar rants about Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Councilman Blasts Chick-Fil-A Prez For Comments Against Gay Marriage (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Chicago Wants to Ban Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Chicago’s Unconstitutional Attack on Chick-fil-A – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Christians Say Chick-fil-A Under Siege by Militant Gays (radio.foxnews.com)
- Chick-fil-A: if you’re not sure, this is how fascism works (patheos.com)
Want a real news story. Go back through the video archives of ABC World News. See how many stories involving negative portrayals of Evangelical Christians were reported using the term “Evangelical Christian.”
Compare that to how many stories about islamic terrorism use the terms “Muslim” or “Islam” or “jihad”? Even though a group that DEFINES ITSELF and ITS OWN AGENDA by its mission to put an end to America gets a free pass in the nightly news. Honestly, have you ever seen their investigative reporters dig into CAIR or any of the other score of “front” groups for Hammas and Hesbolah? They wouldn’t dare to. They apparently had no need to be concerned about the sensitivities of tens of thousands of Christians in this country but are so afraid of Islam, that they won’t mention its name in stories that have their birth in Islams worldview.
In other words, ABC reports on terrorist stories in one way (politically correct, tolerantly), and they report on Christian issues without any qualms regarding fairness? Why aren’t they equally “sensitive” to all religious groups? I know the answer. But are they willing to find out?
I’d love to see a new NEWS media. One that reports the truth. One that doesn’t pull any punches. One that tells it like it is. One that digs and reports whatever it finds. One that doesn’t cater to any political, ethnic, or religious faction. How refreshing would that be.
Honestly now . . . has ANYONE EVER seen more than ONE story on the severe persecution of Christians in the Sudan or in Saudi Arabia? Has anyone cared to look into the burning of churches in many Muslim nations? NO? Why not? Why the silence? I noticed MANY stories on Human Rights violatoins of Gay People, Women, African Americans, and almost any other group. But you won’t find many on the treatment of Christians, Gays, Women in Muslim nations.
Someone could argue, well ABC wants to focus on American news. Then remove the title WORLD NEWS.
What we need are a few men and women who can’t be bought, sold, intimidated or otherwise co-opted by any particular faction or ideology. It doesn’t mean that these people can’t have values or opinions, they just need to be honest and straight forward even about their own biases.
Let’s speak honestly . . . Though I watch nightly news and appreciate their overall coverage and human interest stories, ABC does not seem interested in offending its ideological base. Therefore we can’t expect honest, objective, tell it like it is, REAL NEWS when it comes to religion!
- Persecution (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com)
- Franklin Graham Denounces Death Sentence for Iranian Christian Pastor (davidcalves.com)
- -Have Muslim-Christian Relations Improved Since 9/11/01? Well… (answersforthefaith.com)